If only we'd had . . .

The man had been standing across the aisle from the SPURS' boat show booth for about twenty minutes or so, staring absently at our display. After a while the SPURS' rep walked across to him to ask if he had any questions. The man said, "I was just thinking that if I'd had a set of your cutters installed on my boat two years ago, my eighteen year old daughter would still be alive today.

He went on to tell the story: He had anchored his 40 foot cruiser in calm water to enjoy lunch with his daughter and wife one afternoon. After lunch, his wife motored the boat forward while he pulled in the anchor line. Either she motored too fast or he pulled the line too slowly, and the result was that the anchor line became wrapped around the propeller shaft and stalled the engine, leaving them adrift.

The man's daughter, a good swimmer, quickly volunteered to don mask and fins to dive under the boat and untangle or cut the line free so they could get underway before the boat drifted ashore. While she was under the boat a large sportfisher passed, throwing up a heavy wake, which lifted the man's boat and brought crashing down onto his daughter's head, killing her instantly.

This is a true and tragic story. We retell it at the risk of sounding morbid in order to illustrate a basic truth of the sea: it is unforgiving, and very often deadly. We need to do as much as we can to anticipate potential disasters before they occur. Unfortunately, line entanglements never happen at a good time.